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Revell 1/72 Fairey Gannet Model Kit


The Gannet was built in response to the 1945 Admiralty requirement GR.17/45, for which prototypes by Fairey (Type Q or Fairey 17, after the requirement) and Blackburn Aircraft (the Blackburn B-54 / B-88) were built. After considering and discounting the Rolls-Royce Tweed turboprop, Fairey selected an engine based on the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba: the Double Mamba (or “Twin Mamba”), basically two Mambas mounted side-by-side and coupled through a common gearbox to coaxial contra-rotating propellers.

Revell 1/72 Fairey Gannet

Power was transmitted from each engine by a torsion shaft which was engaged through a series of sun, planet, epicyclic and spur gears to give a suitable reduction ratio and correct propellershaft rotation. The ASMD 1 engine (2,950 hp/2,200 kW) was used in the Gannet AS 1; ASMD 3 (3,145 hp/2,345 kW) in the AS 4; and ASMD 4 (3,875 hp/2,889 kW) in the AEW.3 variant. The Double Mamba engine could be run with one Mamba stopped to conserve fuel and extend endurance for cruise flight.

The contra-rotating propellers meant that when only half of the Double Mamba was running there were no thrust asymmetry problems. The Mamba exhausts were situated on each side of the fuselage, at the root of the wing trailing edge. The gas-turbine engine could run on kerosene, “wide-cut” turbine fuel or diesel fuel, allowing the Admiralty to eliminate the dangerous high-octane petroleum spirit required to operate piston-engined aircraft from carriers.

The pilot is seated well forward, conferring a good view over the nose for carrier operations, and sits over the Double Mamba engine, directly behind the gearbox and propellers. The second crew member, an aerial observer, is seated under a separate canopy directly behind the pilot. After the prototype, a second observer was included, in his own cockpit over the wing trailing edge.

This addition disturbed the airflow over the horizontal stabilizer, requiring small finlets on either side.The Gannet has a large internal weapons bay in the fuselage and a retractable radome under the rear fuselage.

The Gannet’s wing folds in two places to form a distinctive Z-shape on each side. The first fold is at about a third of the wing length where the inboard anhedral (down-sweep) changes to the outboard dihedral (up-sweep) of the wing (described as a gull wing). The second wing fold is at about two-thirds of the wing length. The length of the nose wheel shock absorber causes the Gannet to have a distinctive nose-high attitude, a common characteristic of carrier aircraft.

The Kit:
First things first, I don’t have anything against British aircraft, but it is not my subject of choice much less I build aircraft in 1/72 scale other than those huge subjects like a B-52, C-130 Hercules, BH-36 Peacemaker, well, you get the idea. I must admit that it was the uniqueness of the airframe that got my attention on this model kit. There are mixed feelings toward the Trumpeter and Revell of Germany version of their respective Fairey Gannet models. So I decided for the Revell version.

This is a 1/72 scale model kit, but the subject is as big as my Nakagima Oscar, ZEKE Zero and 1:48 scale Mig-15 bis. For being a new tooling, I was expecting cleaner parts, at least my copy was plagued by flash. In some points it was hard to tell what was flash and what was a kit part.

The bomb bay on the Fairey Gannet in terms of detail is rather plain. Unless your planning to scratch build, IMHO, I see no point on displaying this open. Builders Beware, this kit has very little tolerance from fuselage to cockpits sub assembly. Before you grab the hobby cement of choice, make sure you dry test fit over, and over, and over, and yes, and over. I believe in my humble opinion that Revell should revise the instructions and provide them for those who already have this kit, as a PDF file on their site.

The supplied instructions is very vague at some point, they are very cluttered with boxes within boxes, wrong part numbers and argh! those alchemist color call outs from Revell of Germany get on my nerves. Due to the center of gravity of this kit, you must use over 15grams of weight on the front nose. Less than that ad with the flaps opened and extra weight added by the rear wings and you will get a tail sitter.

Colors used:
Speaking of color call outs, my research of colors for the British Fairey Gannet aircraft came out without concrete consistent answers. I took artistic license and for the lower color on the Fairey Gannet, I used Model Master Acryl color RAF SKY TYPE ‘S’ ANA 610 (4840). It is a minty green color. For the top side of the aircraft, I decided to use Neutral Gray XF-53 from Tamiya. After a coat of Alclad 2 Aqua Gloss 600, the decals were applied.

A second selectively over the decals gloss coat was applied to protect them from the upcoming sludge wash with Lamp Black Artist Oil diluted with mineral spirit. The model was then sealed with Model Master Acryl Flat Clear Coat and taken to the photo booth.

Would I build another Fairey Gannet kit?
I would, in fact, I this kit came from the less than perfect section from my friend’s Mike over at Every now and then Mike cleans the shop from models with less than perfect boxes that happens to be in good condition inside and includes everything.

He had 2 Fairey Gannets with damaged boxes, I did put them both in my cart but thanks to my procrastination, someone snatched one a few hours later. MF Pilot is not widely known (yet). I met Mike (the owner) thru eBay purchases and in or out of eBay, he’s a very nice guy to deal with.

The final subject is a nice representation of the Fairey Gannet AS Mk. 1/4. The shortcomings above, does not detracts it from being a nice finished model. Expected building time for this model kit is longer than you might think. Grab a bit of extra patience from your tool box ;o)

Enjoy the pictures of the Fairey Gannet below, your comments and suggestions are welcome on the comments section below.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.